Saturday, February 9, 2013

Here's to my first month in Africa. Yo!

Wednesdays have always been pretty significant in my life. I was born on a Wednesday, you see, and I think that's what started it. Or maybe that's why I always take note of events that happen on that day. This week, Wednesday February 6th marked my one month in Dar. It's strange to think I've been here a month. I keep getting asked how it's been and I always feel like I'm scrambling to put it into words, short enough that my listener doesn't get bored and long enough for me to communicate my thoughts. Thinking about it and trying to put it into words is hard, because to be honest (and I usually try to be), I don't really know what to say about my first month here. I feel that people expect too much --- that I'll either be raving about it or be going crazy and trying to leave as soon as I can. Best that I can say is that I'm settling in, getting my bearings and trying to find my rhythm. I don't hate it but I don't love it yet.

view from my balcony
I like my apartment. It's behind the US Embassy so it's easy to find, a good location because it's only about 15 minutes away from work but also near the peninsula where most events in the evening or weekends happen. The area is relatively safe and people who have lived here for a while have no complaints. Plus, the askari or security guards in my building are sweet. I'm  even learning bits of Swahili from them. The last and best reason of all is that I think I lucked out in finding my flatmates. I know it won't be perfect and there'll be bumps down the road, but they're a nice bunch and I'm positive that my Dar experience will be better because of them.

first BC Away Day name tag
Five weeks at work has passed by so quickly, we're almost halfway through the term. Next week I'm going to start with assessments and it's going to suck telling some of them that they're falling behind. My students are really awesome and even the weakest ones try so hard that I don't mind spending more time assisting them. Best of all, I love how they act towards each other, no more slapping each other around, and they hardly ever raise their voices --- it's actually hard to monitor speaking activities. :)
British Council Tanzania, relatively speaking, is a small company, so it was pretty nice to spend Away Day (company outing) with people from all departments. We spent the whole day at Kunduchi Beach. We had a lot of activities where they made sure we worked with people outside our departments. I really enjoyed having the time to get to know them a little and finding out interesting bits about what they do. I wouldn't mind getting involved in other projects and I'm going to make that my goal this month --- to see what I else I can do for BC, aside from teaching. I'm also looking at some professional development courses so my mind doesn't rot. Gotta give myself a good kick on the butt.

I think I've rambled on enough for today. I've got more exciting things to report next week and some odds and ends that I want to share about living in Africa. Time to shower and get ready for the dumpling party we're having in our apartment to celebrate Chinese New Year / Tet. Yum.

Later dudes and dudettes.
Kunduchi Beach